Paint Fumes and Comedy

My Significant Other is painting the apartment. AGAIN. To clarify, shes finishing the job she started before the temperature hit 100 degrees and stuck there for roughly 1.2 million weeks. The dog is having the worst day of her life, by the way. Every time SO climbs a ladder, she starts trembling. We think her former owners were abusive stilt-walkers. This has nothing to do with Ever Mainard and Rasa Gierstikas stand-up comedy showcase but have you ever tried to write a blog while a dog has an anxiety attack? Not to mention the paint fumes. Im pretty sure they haven’t affected my writing ability though. PINK RHINOCEROS LAP-DANCE HORCHATA. But back to Mainar and Gierstikas. Sh*t Show, their monthly comedy variety show is going gangbusters and they spoke with Our Town about the Chicago scene and more.

Our Town Why change format from traditional open mic to showcase?

Ever Mainard Numbers were low and Rasa and I knew we had to do something.

Rasa Gierstikas We wanted a fun atmosphere where new/seasoned comics felt welcome to perform without the fear of being judged and criticized.

EM We needed the change. We know people miss the open mic, but this is also such a fun, hip, unique show that people – comics and audiences- can be involved in. We have a grown man in a hot dog suit handing out Malort!!

OT How did you get into stand-up?

RG I was always interested in it but had the worst stage phobia and relied on others to do comedy related things. When I realized that people weren’t always reliable, I decided it was time to suck it up and do stand up.

EM As a child, I really wanted to do something in comedy. When I set out, I wanted to be on SNL. Then as I got older, I started becoming more and more interested in stand up.

OT Ever, your heres your rape bit got a lot of attention. Can you talk about that?

RG Ever stole that from me.

EM I stole it from Rasa….. Well, the joke stemmed from an experience of being followed and being threatened. Of that bit that went viral, only a minute [was rehearsed]. The rest is just a riff.

OT Obviously you think rape jokes have a place in stand-up. Are they always okay? Does it depend on the comedian? Their intention?

EM Well, that joke started as a joke of being pursued and being threatened and then just morphed. I actually dislike rape jokes. Especially from men. Part of the reason why SH*T SHOW became a show is so we wouldnt have to listen to poorly structured rape jokes time after time and then have the word “RAPE!” inserted for shock value. We get it. You’re edgy.

OT What do you like/dislike about the Chicago comedy scene?

RG Like: Some of the people I’ve met. Dislike: Some of the people I’ve met.

EM I have to agree with Rasa.

OT Every single Chicago performer Ive fallen for has left for Los Angeles. Are you going to abandon me too?

EM Sooner or later, but for now, I’ll keep building here.

OT That was cold, man.Tips for wannabe comedians?

RG If this is really your passion, pursue it, but don’t let other comics insecurities affect your confidence level.

EM Agreed. The first time I did ChUC (chicago underground comedy) a comic came up to me right before my set and said “You? How did YOU get this show?” I had a great set and then later became a cast member. You really just have to stick to what you’re doing. It gets hard not to get sidetracked, but stick to it!

PINK RHINO OSTEOPOROSIS. I mean…go see their show at Shambles Bar. Last Friday of every month. 8 p.m.

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, Herself When Shes Missing,” (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicagos StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually.

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